WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 3, 2017) — U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) led a resolution marking the 75th anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. S.Res.70 affirms that policies that discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion would repeat the mistakes of the internment.
“The President can continue to live in a world of alternative facts, but it’s clear that his administration’s policies harken back to the hateful rhetoric that led to the internment of Japanese Americans,” Hirono said. “This internment of Japanese Americans was deeply wrong, and it set a precedent – that it should never happen again. We will resist any and all attempts that take us back to this dark era.”
S.Res.70 is cosponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The resolution is supported by more than 30 organizations including the American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Democracy for America, the Fred T. Korematsu Institute, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, the Japanese American Citizens League, South Asian Americans Leading Together, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, and the Sikh Coalition.
“We stand with Senator Hirono and pledge our commitment to honor the memory of the Japanese Americans incarcerated from Hawai‘i simply because of their ancestry. Whether our wartime imprisonment was a result of martial law or executive order, the government action was based upon ‘race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.’ May we never repeat the mistakes of the past,” said Carole Hayashino, president and executive director, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
“It has been 75 years since our nation succumbed to fear and shamefully incarcerated 120,000 Japanese Americans,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) National Director Christopher Kang. “Today, as we sit at a similar precipice in history, we must not forgot the lessons of the past. We must continue to speak out and force our leaders to recognize the harms to our immigrant, refugee and Muslim communities from recent discriminatory policies and executive orders. We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in introducing this important resolution so that this dark chapter of American history is not repeated.”
“As President Trump attempts to write anti-Muslim bigotry into law, we are reminded of another very dark time in our country’s history when race was used as the basis to intern thousands of Japanese Americans,” said Madihha Ahussain, Muslim Advocates Staff Attorney and Head of Program to Counter Anti-Muslim Hate. “We cannot allow prejudice to divide our communities during this time of concern. We are proud to support Senator Hirono’s resolution and thank her for her leadership in working to unite Americans.”
Click here to download a copy of the resolution.